Archive | On Scene With Bill Wilson

ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON

With President Obama and the Democrats meeting in North Carolina this week I am reminded of the convention I attended in Miami Beach in July of 1972. I was a young man of 22 looking forward to voting for the first time in a Presidential election. This was also the first Presidential election after the ratification of the 26th amendment to the Constitution lowering the voting age to 18. I was excited, keyed up and convinced I could make a difference.

Allen Ginsberg (red striped shirt) sits with the California delegation at the 1972 Democratic Convention


Forty years ago I was still struggling with my sexuality and it would be another 11 years before I would gain the self – acceptance needed to come out of the closet. There were a myriad of new voices being heard at the 1972 Democratic Convention and the gay voice of Jim Foster and the lesbian voice of Madeline Davis were among them. Unfortunately I didn’t hear them because I didn’t have a ticket for the session when they hashed out the platform.


A young Jesse Jackson at the 1972 Democratic National Convention


It was exciting to be part of the political process and see in person the people that making the laws of the land. Having worked very hard for the McGovern campaign I was glad to have the opportunity to see and hear in person the convention proceedings.

Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY-19) speaks to a reporter on the floor of the 1972 Democratic Convention in Miami Beach, Florida


Forty years later I still feel the same way I did when I got to vote for the first time. I am excited about this election because I believe it will determine how we look forward to future. I am keyed up because the Republican platform stands to rollback the gains minorities, women and the LGBT community have made over the pass 40 years and we can’t allow that to happen. I am still convinced my vote can make a difference. 

Photos from the collection of Bill Wilson

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On Scene with Bill Wilson Building Fuel Efficiency

Photos by Bill Wilson
WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama Administration today (August 28) finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. When combined with previous standards set by this Administration, this move will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on our roads. In total, the Administration’s national program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.

“These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President Obama. “This historic agreement builds on the progress we’ve already made to save families money at the pump and cut our oil consumption. By the middle of the next decade our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today. It’ll strengthen our nation’s energy security, it’s good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last.”

The historic standards issued August 28, 2012 by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) build on the success of the Administration’s standards for cars and light trucks for Model Years 2011-2016. Those standards, which raised average fuel efficiency by 2016 to the equivalent of 35.5 mpg, are already saving families money at the pump.
Achieving the new fuel efficiency standards will encourage innovation and investment in advanced technologies that increase our economic competitiveness and support high-quality domestic jobs in the auto industry. The final standards were developed by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and EPA following extensive engagement with automakers, the United Auto Workers, consumer groups, environmental and energy experts, states, and the public. Last year, 13 major automakers, which together account for more than 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States, announced their support for the new standards. By aligning Federal and state requirements and providing manufacturers with long-term regulatory certainty and compliance flexibility, the standards encourage investments in clean, innovative technologies that will benefit families, promote U.S. leadership in the automotive sector, and curb pollution.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at Transbay Terminal Groundbreaking billwilsonphotos.com

“Simply put, this groundbreaking program will result in vehicles that use less gas, travel farther, and provide more efficiency for consumers than ever before—all while protecting the air we breathe and giving automakers the regulatory certainty to build the cars of the future here in America,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Today, automakers are seeing their more fuel-efficient vehicles climb in sales, while families already saving money under the Administration’s first fuel economy efforts will save even more in the future, making this announcement a victory for everyone.”

“The fuel efficiency standards the administration finalized today are another example of how we protect the environment and strengthen the economy at the same time,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Innovation and economic growth are already reinvigorating the auto industry and the thousands of businesses that supply automakers as they create and produce the efficient vehicles of tomorrow. Clean, efficient vehicles are also cutting pollution and saving drivers money at the pump.”

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson on a tour of Mission Motors in San Francisco, February 1, 2012 billwilsonphotos.com

The Administration’s combined efforts represent the first meaningful update to fuel efficiency standards in decades. Together, they will save American families more than $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, resulting in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 over the lifetime of the vehicle. For families purchasing a model Year 2025 vehicle, the net savings will be comparable to lowering the price of gasoline by approximately $1 per gallon. Additionally, these programs will dramatically reduce our reliance on foreign oil, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil and reducing oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day by 2025 – as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC each day.

The standards also represent historic progress to reduce carbon pollution and address climate change. Combined, the Administration’s standards will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025, reducing emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the life of the program – more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010.

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Neil Armstrong’s autograph on my photo of him.  May, 1976 narrating “The Ballad of Valley Forge” a musical composition based on George Washington’s diary he kept while camped at Valley Forge.

After working as a farmer for seventeen years my father became an eight grade science teacher in 1958. Since I was born in 1950, I can remember as a nine year old lying in the field next to my maternal grandparent’s home and watching the night sky to see the passing of sputnik. My father could tell us in the general direction it would come from and you just waited until you saw a little light moving through the night sky. You really had no sense of motion except that that light seemed to be getting closer to a stationary star or planet. Once it was spotted it was only a few minutes before it disappeared.


Harvey Berkhouse, Bill Wilson and David Wilson. Photo from author’s private collection.

I can remember lying on the ground next to my grandfather and thinking that he was born before man learned to fly. When he was growing up trains and boats were the fastest way to transport people. I thought it was awesome that within his lifetime he had gone from witnessing man’s first flight to seeing a man-made object circling the globe in 90 minutes. I often wondered what the equivalent will be in my lifetime.
Ten years later we went from orbiting satellites to landing a man on the moon. Even though the 1960’s were a decade of change, Neil Armstrong’s achievement and the optimism it encapsulated, immortalized forever in the phrase, “If we can land a man on the moon, why can’t we….” will always be remembered.

 

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On Scene with Bill Wilson Action on the Bay

The America’s Cup World Series opened in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon with a trio of Match Racing Qualifiers. Six teams were competing for the three final spots in the Quarterfinals in the first racing of the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay.

The conditions were slightly lighter than what the teams had come to expect on the Bay over the past week when five crews capsized during training sessions. In contrast, today’s West-southwesterly winds of 14-17 knots, with tricky currents to navigate, provided more of a tactical test for the teams.

A large weekday crowd lined the shoreline of the AC Village at the Marina Green to take in the action – the boats at times just yards from the coast – eager to see America’s Cup racing on the Bay for the first time.

It was a good day for Luna Rossa. Both Max Sirena’s Swordfish and Chris Draper’s Piranha crews won their matches 2-0 over China Team and Artemis Racing Red, respectively.

“We had a tricky one against Santiago Lange and the Artemis team,” said Piranha skipper Chris Draper. “We knew they’d be pretty strong. But the guys made some good reads on the wind shifts to get us in front.”

Ben Ainslie’s J.P. Morgan team also made a successful debut on the circuit, sweeping past Team Korea.

“We certainly have a lot to learn,” Ainslie said. “We had a few issues, but the guys did some amazing work to get us around the course. We had to overtake (in both races) and I think we had a penalty call go against them that helped us in the second race, but the guys did a fantastic job.”

Team Korea’s gold medal winning skipper, Nathan Outteridge, felt particularly frustrated in his match against J.P. Morgan BAR, after seeing early leads in both races overturned.

“We started well in the first one and then just made one error which gave them the chance they needed,” Outteridge said. “Then in the second race, we seemed to be getting penalties for no apparent reason… (and) we basically had to let him go past… We’re a bit confused about what happened to be honest.”

Due to the penalty situation, the team asked Regatta Director Iain Murray to consider overturning the result and having the race re-sailed. But after consulting the Jury, Murray said the results on the water will stand, as the Rules do not allow for redress.

Racing will continue from 2 -4 daily Thursday through Saturday with the final races on Sunday at 11.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF BILL WILSON PHOTOGRAPHY www.billwilsonphotos.com
















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On Scene With Bill Wilson

As I turned the corner toward City Hall on Thursday I noticed that the bright red Lotus flower that would have been swaying in the wind was deflated. My heart felt the same way. Had vandals succeeded in destroying the bright spot that had bloomed over the Civic Center as part of the Asian Art Museum’s Phantoms of Asia exhibit?

I had heard that it was going to be taken on September 2 so I thought perhaps someone had decided to take it down earlier ( as Rec and Park had done with  the Burning Man Temple in Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley.)

It turns out that the “vandal” was just normal wear and tear, emphasis on tear, caused by environmental factors such as the wind.  Employees from the Asian Art Museum were repairing it. Who knew dental floss could be used to sew up holes in a vinyl lotus flower?

 


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On Scene with Bill Wilson: SFO Control Tower Groundbreaking

Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Acting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael P. Huerta, and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Director John L. Martin to officially break ground on SFO’s new air traffic control tower between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, east of the existing tower.

Transportation Secretary LaHood, SF Mayor Lee, Airport Director John Martin and William Withycombe FAA Western-Pacific region Administrator wield the shovels in a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony.

“The construction of SFO’s new air traffic control tower will provide the Airport with the most technologically advanced facility in the nation,” said Mayor Lee. “We are investing in our City’s critical infrastructure, providing a world-class International Airport and putting our residents back to work.”

“We’re building a world class tower for a world class airport,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood. “Hundreds of Bay Area construction workers will be employed in well-paying jobs while building this project to the strictest seismic standards.”

“The new tower will serve this growing airport for decades to come,” said Acting FAA Administrator Huerta. “Air traffic controllers will have a thoroughly modernized facility with better airfield views and the most up to date equipment.”

“San Francisco International Airport is extremely pleased to be partnering with the FAA on the construction of this landmark facility,” said Airport Director Martin. “The new air traffic control tower will not only meet or exceed the strictest seismic standards and contain the latest technology, but it will also be an iconic symbol of the Airport for generations to come.”

The new control tower will be 221 feet tall and will feature a 650 square-foot controller work area. The tower will sit atop a three-story, 44,000 square-foot base building, which will house administrative offices, computer equipment, a backup generator and secure corridors through which passengers can transit between terminals. The current tower, which the FAA commissioned in 1984, is about 180 feet tall and has a 520 square-foot controller work area.

The current air traffic control tower no longer meets current seismic standards and it is not cost effective to retrofit the facility. The seismic design for the new tower allows for the structure to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake. The top of the tower has also been designed to not sway with wind loads to ensure better comfort for the controllers. It is estimated that more than 400 construction jobs and more than 200 support positions will be created during the construction of the tower and associated facilities.

Although the tower design is visually appealing and unique, it was actually designed based on strictly prescribed FAA functional requirements. The flared shape at the top of the tower shaft and below the cab provides room for state of the art FAA electronics and personnel necessary to operate. The cab offset on the tower was required for critical sight lines to the airfield directly below.

 

Model of the new Control Tower

The project goal is to achieve LEED Gold. Part of that initiative will be to provide solar panels, integrate eco-friendly mechanical and technical systems wherever practical, use sustainable building materials and construct the facility in the most environmentally responsible manner. The construction of the new tower is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014 and fully operational by the FAA in the fall of 2015.

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ON THE SCENE WITH BILL WILSON: JACKSON, WYOMING

In the days before the internet you had to depend on things like the AP wire service for stories to go universal, but I have knowledge of one such story that is particularly relevant during this July 4 holiday because it happened on July 4, 1969 in a Wyoming town called Jackson that sits right outside the Grand Teton National Park.

Clover the Killer is asked his last words before being hung on the Elk antler archway on the Jackson Town Square

When I first visited Jackson ( that’s the town’s name. Jackson Hole technically refers to the valley) in 1962 my great uncle took us to see “The Hanging of Clover the Killer” a reenactment of a stage coach robbery that ends with the hanging of Clover, a shoot out as his gang tried to rescue him and the triumph of good as the dead body of Clover was put on the back of a horse and paraded through town with the announcer saying, “Clover is dead but don’t worry he’ll be back tomorrow at 7pm for another show.”

It’s only fake blood at the “Hanging of Clover the Killer”

These nightly reenactments were staged by a local theatre called the Pink Garter. In 1969 the owner of the theatre building contracted with a new group to do the summer shows. The theater was renamed the “Diamond Lil.” The old producer was not pleased. She returned to Jackson. She raised money and a tent in a parking lot and was back in business and still did the nightly shoot out as a way to attract people to her show. So during the summer of 1969 the competition between theaters became rather cutthroat. When you have the chief of police as your best drinking buddy you can get what you want or at least think you are entitled to and the Pink Garter certainly thought they were entitled.

Diamond Lil Theatre formerly the Pink Garter in the summer of 1969.

In order to compete with the nightly shoot out and the crowds it attracted, the Diamond Lil contracted with the owner of a steam calliope to have it towed to a parking lot near the Diamond Lil It was played by the Diamond Lil’s music director, Jo Lane Laycock, after the nightly shoot out was over. The concert lasted only for about ten minutes, but it infuriated the Pink Garter people and eventually was banned from the town as too noisy.
It was decided by the people at the Diamond Lil that on July 4 the calliope would return to town and JoLane would play a concert. No one knew if she would be arrested on the spot, later or whether the ban would not be enforced. There was a little anticipation in the air as the calliope gained steam and Jo Lane sat down at the keyboard. Since it was the 4th of July she played several patriotic songs, among them was “God Bless America”.
Nothing happened then or later that night at the theater where the troupe was performing a musical called “Petticoats and Pettifoggers” about Esther Morris and how women won the vote in Wyoming. The next day the troupe was taken to South Pass City which is where Esther Morris had lived and performed before a crowd that included the Governor of the state of Wyoming. When we got back to Jackson it was discovered that someone had cut all the wires on the calliope making it inoperable and with over a hundred wires not easily repaired. To add insult to injury as Jo Lane was preparing to play that night two police officers served her with a warrant to appear in court to answer charges of disturbing the peace.

Jo Lane Laycock 1969. The back of this photo is signed by Jo Lane with the nscription “To my co-partner in crime”

The headline on the AP wire story that went worldwide was “Woman arrested for playing God Bless America on the fourth of July.” Jo Lane had done a USO tour of Southeast Asia so she was getting calls from Japan and Korea saying that they had read about her arrest.

Jo Lane and her supporters showed up for the first court date but it was discovered she had been given the wrong time. Since she had intended to plead not guilty they continued the case. Meanwhile it became apparent that the whole thing had backfired for the town of Jackson. Four of the five people who signed the complaints were investors or spouses of investors in the Pink Garter Theatre. The police had actually gone from business to business soliciting people to sign the complaints. The calliope concert required no street closures unlike the Pink Garter’s shoot-out in the town’s main square. Even though the case was eventually dropped, Jo Lane Laycock will always be known as the “Woman who was arrested for playing ‘God Bless America’ on the Fourth of July”.

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On the Scene with Bill Wilson



Text and photos by Bill Wilson

Barbara Gravelli photographer and banner creator (right) with model Annalisa Scamera.

Barbara Gravelli photographer and banner creator (right) with model Annalisa Scamera.

The Italian reads, “What if she was your best friend?” 
 
 Rome’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia took on both practical as well as international overtones this year. A day long conference on GLBT diversity in the workplace took place. In the evening Rome’s Gay Street near the Coliseum was the venue for the Thoughts and Music Against Homophobia. The passing of Donna Summers was noted during a performance by Miss Tia Architto, a South African born singer now based in Rome.

it2012__02514copyres3Emcee Antonella Elia  listens as Miss Tia Architto speaks about her native South Africa.

Thoughts were provided by an impressive array of speakers that included government representatives and others who are doing important work in advancing LGBT rights in Italian life.

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Paolo Patane, National President of Arcigay, the Italian LGBT group, presents Massimiliano Monnanni, General Director of the National Office Against Racial Discrimination, with a plaque during ceremonies marking the International Day Against Homophobia in Rome, Italy. 
 
 In Italy there are two national offices that deal with discrimination, one, under the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, is the National Office Against Racial Discrimination. The second is L’Osservatorio per la sicurezza contro gli atti discriminatori ( Observatory for the protection against discriminatory acts) OSCAD, which is under the Department of Safety. This group is specifically tasked wih taking reports on discrimination based on sexual orientation as well as those based on ethnic or racial origin, religious belief, or handicap. Representatives from both these groups spoke to the assembled crowd.

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“Gay Street Roma” during the Internantional Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Via Di S.Giovanni in Laterano is becoming the Castro Street of Rome with a gay restaurant and a gay souvenir shop opening there.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson: Mysteries Solved

The Prince

The Prince

In Room VII of the Museo Nazionale Romano/Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme there are two bronze statues, The Prince and The Boxer. I confess that I am not expert enough to know that the small head of The Prince, in proportion to the rest of the body means that it comes from the Pergamene tradition and that it shows Lysippus’ influence. I am amazed that there are experts that can tell the meaning of every detail. They have spent lifetimes studying written records, comparing known sculptures with pieces of recovered sculptures and proposing answers to the questions of who did it and when?

The Boxer

The Boxer

The gloves The Boxer wears help date it because they are of a type worn during the Imperial era. According to the guidebook, “The figure is based on the contrast between the relaxation expressed by the folded arms, the slight spreading of the legs and the hunching of the back and the sudden turn of the head to the right to look at something that eludes us.” Fortunately I was there at the right moment so that what he was looking at did not elude me.

The Boxer posing for another photograph.

The Boxer posing for another photograph.

Clearly The Boxer is annoyed by constantly being photographed by the paparazzi! Do you have any idea how bothersome it can be having to sit still for thousands of years?

Flags of the European Union and Italy fly from Bologna’s City Hall.

Flags of the European Union and Italy fly from Bologna’s City Hall.

Pigeon toed is a medical term that is defined as a condition which causes the toes to point inward when walking. When visiting Bologna, Italy and the statue of Neptune in their town square I noticed that Neptune had what I would call a pigeon finger. If you look closely at the picture you will notice a bump on his hand left hand that looks like it might be the stub of an amputated fifth finger.

Neptune tops a fountain in Bologna.

Neptune tops a fountain in Bologna.

However from a slightly different angle and a closer look you can see that it is in fact a pigeon who has found a lofty perch.

  Ready for its close up.

Ready for its close up.

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On the Scene with Bill Wilson: May Day in Italy

Text and photos by Bill Wilson

Text and photos by Bill Wilson     Image 1867- San Giuseppe Artigiano, Rome, Italy               May Day is a federal holiday in Italy. There are official events involving the President of Italy and politicians from various parties making the most of it. Over 500,000 people listened to a concert in the Plaza of St. John in Lateran.  In the working class neighborhood in the eastern part of Rome near the Tiburtina station where my husband’s family lives it is the local church, San Giuseppe Artigiano, that takes full advantage of the festival day of the saint the church was named for, Saint Joseph the Carpenter (or artisan).    Image 1705 – An indication of the density of the neighborhood can be seen in this photo of the band playing as people look from the surrounding buildings.               They start the night before with a procession of the icon of St. Joseph through the neighborhood. Eight men balance the icon on their shoulders. They stop at various prearranged locations for a brief reading before marching to the next location. The route is a little shorter than the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.    Image 1575 – The leader of the Brass band performing during the march through the neighborhood.                Activities on May 1 include a race around the neighborhood, a puppet show for children, a performance of African dance, a mass led by Bishop Monsignor Giuseppe Marciante, a brass band concert, a concert by “I Fratelli Della Costa” and the rather busy day is capped by a fireworks display.    Image 1631 – Children dancing through the band.                The program of events lists the arrival of the band. Where does the band arrive from? Their march through the neighborhood, of course.    Image 1856 – The band playing in the courtyard of the church.

San Giuseppe Artigiano, Rome, Italy

May Day is a federal holiday in Italy. There are official events involving the President of Italy and politicians from various parties making the most of it. Over 500,000 people listened to a concert in the Plaza of St. John in Lateran.  In the working class neighborhood in the eastern part of Rome near the Tiburtina station where my husband’s family lives it is the local church, San Giuseppe Artigiano, that takes full advantage of the festival day of the saint the church was named for, Saint Joseph the Carpenter (or artisan).

An indication of the density of the neighborhood can be seen in this photo of the band playing as people look from the surrounding buildings.

An indication of the density of the neighborhood can be seen in this photo of the band playing as people look from the surrounding buildings.

They start the night before with a procession of the icon of St. Joseph through the neighborhood. Eight men balance the icon on their shoulders. They stop at various prearranged locations for a brief reading before marching to the next location. The route is a little shorter than the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

The leader of the Brass band performing during the march through the neighborhood

The leader of the Brass band performing during the march through the neighborhood

Activities on May 1 include a race around the neighborhood, a puppet show for children, a performance of African dance, a mass led by Bishop Monsignor Giuseppe Marciante, a brass band concert, a concert by “I Fratelli Della Costa” and the rather busy day is capped by a fireworks display.

Children dancing through the band.

Children dancing through the band.

The program of events lists the arrival of the band. Where does the band arrive from? Their march through the neighborhood, of course.

 The band playing in the courtyard of the church.

The band playing in the courtyard of the church.

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On the Scene with Bill Wilson: Palazzo Altemps

Text and photos by Bill Wilson

Courtyard of the Palazzo Altemps with sculptures positioned as originally placed by Cardinal Altemps.

Courtyard of the Palazzo Altemps with sculptures positioned as originally placed by Cardinal Altemps.

It is fitting that the ancient art section of the Museo Nazionale Romano should find its home in the Palazzo Altemps, which was built by the Riario family in the late 15th century. Acquired in 1568 by Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps, whose uncle was Pope Pius IV, the building was renovated and afforded the Cardinal a setting to display his collection of sculptures, vases and manuscripts.

 A side view of the Ludovisi Ares in the Salla della Piattaia.

A side view of the Ludovisi Ares in the Salla della Piattaia.

Two of the more famous pieces in the Ludovisi collection are contained in the Sala della Piattaia (Room of the Plate Rack). The Ares can be seen with Eros playing at his feet.

A front view of the Ludovisi Ares gives a better view of Eros playing at his feet.

A front view of the Ludovisi Ares gives a better view of Eros playing at his feet.

The second famous piece on display in the same room is the group of Orestes and Electra at the grave of their father Agamemnon.

Front view of Orestes and Electra

Front view of Orestes and Electra

View from behind.

View from behind.

There are several rooms in the palace devoted to the Public and Private Cults which include items brought from Egypt to Rome in ancient times.

 Rooms of Public and Private Cults. The bust at the far end is of Pharaoh Amenemhet III

Rooms of Public and Private Cults. The bust at the far end is of Pharaoh Amenemhet III

The bust of the Pharaoh Amenemhet III is the oldest surviving example of art from the Middle Kingdom to be brought to Rome during the imperial era.

This is a statue of the bull-diety,  Apis, who was originally worshipped in Memphis, the ancient capitol of Egypt. In Roman times it was associated with the cult if Isis.

This is a statue of the bull-diety, Apis, who was originally worshipped in Memphis, the ancient capitol of Egypt. In Roman times it was associated with the cult if Isis.


It is easy to get so caught up with the magnificent pieces of sculptures and other objects that you miss some of the finer points of decoration in the rooms of the Palazzo. That is the reason I didn’t get a picture of the plate rack fresco in the Room of the Plate Rack, however I did get picture of the obelisk in the Room of the Obelisks.

he obelisks painted as part of the window frame give the room its name.

he obelisks painted as part of the window frame give the room its name.

The Room of the Painted Perspectives might have originally been a chapel based on some of the decoration, but was turned into the main hall.

 The Room of the Painted Perspectives

The Room of the Painted Perspectives

The frescoed walls provide a perfect backdrop for the sculptures that seem to come to life in another world.

 A relaxed Hercules

A relaxed Hercules

A playful Satyr

A playful Satyr


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On the Scene with Bill Wilson at the Church of Sant’Ancieto

Text and photo by Bill Wilson

Church of Sant’Ancieto is on the second level of the Palazzo Altemps

Church of Sant’Ancieto is on the second level of the Palazzo Altemps

If one has the wealth and clout to have a church, not the usual chapel, but a full church with relics of a saint and everything, installed in your own palace then I guess a chance to spin a little history doesn’t much matter.

General view of the Church of Sant’Ancieto

General view of the Church of Sant’Ancieto

The church was built by Giovanni Angelo Altemps starting in 1603 and was completed by 1618. Sant’Ancieto was one of the early popes from 154-167 AD.  And he is seen on the north wall pleading with authorities for his life. Except it is not really believed that the Pope died that way. So why would he be portrayed that way? Therein lies a tale of love, family pride, and devotion to duty.

Frescoes by Pomarancio showing Christ on the way to Calvary, the martyrdom of Sant’Ancieto and a woman gathering innocent blood that has fallen on Roman soil.

Frescoes by Pomarancio showing Christ on the way to Calvary, the martyrdom of Sant’Ancieto and a woman gathering innocent blood that has fallen on Roman soil.

Giovanni’s father was Roberto Altemps the illegitimate son of Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps. When Sixtus V became Pope in 1585 he tried to clean up the corruption and graft. He became known as the law and order Pope. Roberto was accused of adultery, a crime that in those days was a capitol offense. Ordinary the punishment would have been to require Roberto to marry the woman, but in this case that was not possible since Roberto had just been married to a member of the Orsini family. Unfortunately this was the  same Orsini family that Pope Sixtus V held responsible for the death of his nephew.

 Close up of Pope Sant’Ancieto

Close up of Pope Sant’Ancieto

Roberto Altemps was punished by beheading in 1586. Did Roberto get a fair hearing? Was he the victim of the Pope’s reluctance to show favor to any one? It depends on what history you read, but clearly the Altemps family felt him innocent and his son chose to honor Sant’Ancieto in a way that would remind people of that innocence.

View from the church window of the Painted Loggia which contains the Gallery of the Twelve Caesars.

View from the church window of the Painted Loggia which contains the Gallery of the Twelve Caesars.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson Ludovisi’s Marbles

Text and Photos by Bill Wilson

In the years 1621 to 1623 Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi assembled a collection of ancient marble sculptures that have become known as the Boncompagni Ludovisi Marbles to be displayed at his villa. These sculptures were to have a great influence on the Baroque culture. Having been restored by sculptors like Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Alessandro Algardi, they were reproduced in various medium and served to inspire artists such as the Spanish painter Velazquez, who saw then while staying in Rome and John Singleton Copley who used them in the background of his elegant portraits.
 
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When Rome was named the Capitol of the unified Italy in 1861 there was pressure to build in the area of the Villa Ludovisi because its open parkland provided much needed space. The collection was dispersed but the Italian state was able to acquire much of it in 1901. Currently the sculptures are part of the display at the Museo Nazionale Romano/ Palazzo Altemps. In addition to the sculptures that were kept part of the collection, also on display is the famous “Ludovisi Throne” which was discovered in the area of the villa in 1887.

 

The front of the Ludovisi Throne showing the birth of Aphrodite  

The front of the Ludovisi Throne showing the birth of Aphrodite

In the English version of the guidebook, Museo Nazionale Romano, Nunizo Giustozzi explains, “It is now generally agreed that the craving on front represents the mythical birth of Aphrodite from foam, the perhaps not so allusive fruit of the severed genitals of Uranus after his son Cronus threw them into the sea…she is helped to emerge by the young and strong arms of the Horai.”
 

The left side is adorned with a Flute player

The left side is adorned with a Flute player


 
The right side is adorned with a bride.

The right side is adorned with a bride.


 
There isn’t the same general agreement on how it might have been used, where it came from or when it came to Rome.

The Juno Ludovisi is another famous part of the collection that has inspired poets, artists and writers. Goethe declared her his first Roman love. In a story by Henry James she comes alive.
 

Juno Ludovisi

Juno Ludovisi


 
Most scholars have identified this head as a young and idealized portrait of Antonia Minor, the Emperor Claudius’s mother, who was deified after her death in 37AD. Others think it may be the head of Livia the wife of Emperor Augustus. 
 
The front of the Grand Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus

The front of the Grand Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus


 
This Sarcophagus found in Rome in 1621 is one of the largest ever found. The theme of victory over the Barbarians is a common one in decoration of sarcophagi from the second half of the 2nd century to the first half of the 3rd century AD. The deceased is the figure in the center with his arm outstretched.
 
The Palazzo Altemps contains so many things to see at every turn

The Palazzo Altemps contains so many things to see at every turn


 

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On Scene with Bill Wilson: Rome Museums

Photos by Bill Wilson

This week is Culture Week in Rome. Most of the museums have free or reduced admission. On Sunday we visited the Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme, which contains the ancient art section of the Roman National Museum.
 

Works from Second and First Centuries, Imperial and late Ancient periods are exhibited on three floors.

Works from Second and First Centuries, Imperial and late Ancient periods are exhibited on three floors.


 
I found the sculptures that date back 2000 years to be incredibly beautiful and while there have been books written on the subject I thought it best to just introduce a few of my new friends by quoting from the display information.
 
This portrait of an unknown Roman citizen shows traits that are typical of the late Hellenistic tradition and was carved around the second quarter of the first century.

This portrait of an unknown Roman citizen shows traits that are typical of the late Hellenistic tradition and was carved around the second quarter of the first century.


 
This head, the back of which was not completed, shows markedly realistic clear features. The style is a blend of Greek art and Italic tradition, is traceable to Etruscan portraiture of the so called 'Italic cubism' of the III century BC.

This head, the back of which was not completed, shows markedly realistic clear features. The style is a blend of Greek art and Italic tradition, is traceable to Etruscan portraiture of the so called 'Italic cubism' of the III century BC.


 
The neck is cut for insertion of the head into a bust of a statue. The person portrayed has been identified as Germanicus (15BC – 19AD).

The neck is cut for insertion of the head into a bust of a statue. The person portrayed has been identified as Germanicus (15BC – 19AD).


 
It is rather overwhelming to walk through gallery after gallery of such beautiful and ancient works of art. But even to me there were some recognizable names among the works.
 
The young woman with elaborate hairstyle is the famous poet, Sappho (612 – 580 BC). This replica may have been produced in the 16 or 18th centuries possibly reworking and polishing an ancient work.

The young woman with elaborate hairstyle is the famous poet, Sappho (612 – 580 BC). This replica may have been produced in the 16 or 18th centuries possibly reworking and polishing an ancient work.


 
Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great


 
Socrates

Socrates


 
One of the floors of this museum is devoted to showing the decorative arts as they were used in luxurious villas. The reconstruction of frescoed rooms is extraordinary.
 
Room from the villa found in the gardens of the Farnesina along the Tiber in 1879, believed to belong to Augustus’ friend Agrippa, who married his daughter, Julia, in 19 BC

Room from the villa found in the gardens of the Farnesina along the Tiber in 1879, believed to belong to Augustus’ friend Agrippa, who married his daughter, Julia, in 19 BC


 
Livia’s Villa Garden Room. Livia was the wife of Augustus.

Livia’s Villa Garden Room. Livia was the wife of Augustus.


 
Amid all the classical splendor the basement of this museum contains a reminder of what make the world go round. Yes, there are coins from ancient to modern times. It also includes ancient luxury items and examples of the way wealth was extended to after death. 
 
An ancient scale.

An ancient scale.


 
This is just a small sampling from one of many museums we hope to visit in the next week.

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On the Scene with Bill Wilson: A walk in Rome


A close up of the statue of the Virgin Mary that sits atop an ancient Roman column in Piazza Mignanelli, which is adjacent to the Piazza di Spagna.

A close up of the statue of the Virgin Mary that sits atop an ancient Roman column in Piazza Mignanelli, which is adjacent to the Piazza di Spagna.

We took our usual afternoon walk through the neighborhood, but today we picked a more distant neighborhood. A bus ride from the Tiburtina station took us to Via Del Tritone were we got off just before Via Del Babuino. That put us in a direct line to the Piazza del Popolo with the Piazza di Spagna along the way.

The view of the Colonna dell’Immacolata from the Piazza di Spagna.

The view of the Colonna dell’Immacolata from the Piazza di Spagna.

The statue of the Virgin Mary was put atop an ancient roman column in 1857 to celebrate Pope Pius IX’s declaration of the doctrine of Immaculate Conception. The statue was visible most of our walk along the Via Del Babuino. One of three roads called the Trident that converge at the Piazza del Popolo.

The condition of the Fontana del Sileno lead people to call it Babuino (the  baboon) and gave the street its name.

The condition of the Fontana del Sileno lead people to call it Babuino (the baboon) and gave the street its name.

Easter is considered the start of the tourist season in Rome. If our excursion was any indication it is off to a good start. The Spanish steps were covered with tourists. It was a beautiful sunny day that made the colors of the building seem even more vivid.
Fernando Orlandi stands in front of the Spanish steps in the Piazza di Spagna.

Fernando Orlandi stands in front of the Spanish steps in the Piazza di Spagna.

The guidebooks recommend a very circuitous route around this world famous shopping district, but the shops along the Via Del Babuino were enough for us. There were a great variety of shops, some of the names of which Americans would recognize.

A famous American name

A famous American name

A recognizable Italian name

A recognizable Italian name

It was fun to just walk along this street because you never knew what the next window might bring. You also never saw a price.

This little ring can inflict a lethal bite to the budget of unwary tourists.

This little ring can inflict a lethal bite to the budget of unwary tourists.

Before the camera became portable and easy as a click, a painting was the only way to share a view of what you had visited.

Before the camera became portable and easy as a click, a painting was the only way to share a view of what you had visited.

 Not made necessarily for comfort, they sure look good

Not made necessarily for comfort, they sure look good

Household items of quality available here

Household items of quality available here

Shopping isn’t the only reason to walk along the Via Del Babuino. The international flavor of Rome is reflected in the area. The Piazza de Spagna was named because when Spain had it s Embassy to the Holy See in the area it was considered Spanish territory. Along the Via Del Babuino is the All Saints Church, which holds Anglican services.

This photo was taken several blocks from the Piazza del Popolo, but looking back to where we started. The Virgin Mary statue can just be seen in the distance.

This photo was taken several blocks from the Piazza del Popolo, but looking back to where we started. The Virgin Mary statue can just be seen in the distance.

“Porta del Popolo” The door of the People was at the end of our walk.

“Porta del Popolo” The door of the People was at the end of our walk.

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On the Scene with Bill Wilson: Flowers

photo016683res1When I was a teenager, for two summers I spent eight weeks at Camp Tecumseh on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. One of the annual summer end traditions at this camp was a production of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. One year it was “The Mikado”, which is why at this time of year I get a a little tune in my mind that I find myself replaying over and over again. Luckily for the reader of this there is no sound version of this column so you are spared having to listen to me try to sing this little ditty. You just get the photos taken at Alemany Farm Garden that inspired me to think of it this year.

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On the Scene With Bill Wilson: Europe


Golden Gate view from the air after take off from SFO.

Golden Gate view from the air after take off from SFO.

Yes, we took a chance flying on April 1, but the fools were the ones who didn’t take advantage of the lower fares that started April 1. We were on our way to Rome for a 2 /2 month stay with my husband’s mother. Our flight took us through London’s Heathrow. Leaving San Francisco in the afternoon we arrived in London in the morning.

Buckingham Palace stands aloof from its London surroundings, but will soon be the center of attention during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.

Buckingham Palace stands aloof from its London surroundings, but will soon be the center of attention during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, marking her 60 years on the throne, is currently underway as she takes tours of areas of Britain and various boroughs of London. With the Jubilee events in June and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games coming in July and August, a busy travel season is expected for London this year. We didn’t have a long delay getting into Heathrow only a ten minute wait before heading down the Thames and getting a bird’s eye view of the sites famous world-wide.

30,000 plus feet above Paris makes the landmarks hard to detect, but the Seine is clearly visible as it winds its way through the city.

30,000 plus feet above Paris makes the landmarks hard to detect, but the Seine is clearly visible as it winds its way through the city.

The flight from London to Rome is a little more than two hours and takes you directly over France, the Alps and northern Italy.  The alps are almost always a breathtaking sight. Even on cloudy days some of the higher peaks can be seen rising above the clouds.

The Alps higher peaks break through the cloud cover

The Alps higher peaks break through the cloud cover

Once across the Alps the countryside of northern Italy is visible and the beautiful green countryside of Tuscany comes into better view as the descent into Rome’s Fumicino  airport begins. At the risk of being a little bit sentimental. I am really looking forward to this trip.

The northern Italian countryside from the plane on the way to a landing at Rome’s Fumicino Airport.

The northern Italian countryside from the plane on the way to a landing at Rome’s Fumicino Airport.

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On the Scene With Bill Wilson Santorum killed My Mother, Now He Wants To Void My Marriage?

The first part might be a little exaggerated, but I do hold Rick Santorum, who was then a Senator from our home state of Pennsylvania and Jeb Bush, who was then Governor of Florida where my mother resided at the time of her death, directly responsible for creating the circus atmosphere that surrounded the Teri Schiavo case. It made my Mother fear that if she allowed the doctors to hook her up to a machine that her wishes as to when the machines should be turned off would not be respected.

hgbMy Grandfather, Harvey Garfield Berkhouse,  Photo from Wilson Family Collection

My maternal grandfather died in 1964. I was fourteen years old. That was the start of many family conversations about what family members wanted in regard to end of life decisions. My Mother was very clear that she wanted to be cremated and did not want to be hooked up to life support machines. I remember one particular conservation in which my Mother felt that we weren’t being serious enough, because she said, “You don’t have to listen to me, but if there is a way back after death, I’ll find it, and, if you haven’t carried out my requests, you will regret it!”

bv My Mother and myself at the beach in Avalon, New Jersey,   Photo from Wilson Family Collection

There aren’t words strong enough to describe how upset my Mother was when the Terri Schiavo case became state and national news. She made us even more aware of her wishes not to be hooked up to machines for life support. We promised that we would never allow that to happen. That promise was an intensely private moment in our case, and should have been in the Schiavo case, but the fact that there were politicians willing to exploit that decision for their own personal gains was despicable.

vbdw My parents’ wedding, December 29, 1941. Photo from Wilson Family Collection

But in Santorum’s case nothing has changed, he is still willing to put his own “theology” above intensely private personal decisions. The only thing he knows about my marriage is the gender of my husband, yet he is willing to sacrifice it on the altar of political expediency to get him the label of “true” conservative. He doesn’t know about my 25 year relationship with husband, and the journey we have taken from domestic partners( San Francisco February 14,1991), to legally married (San Francisco June 18, 2008).

bfwedding Bill and Fernando’s wedding at City Hall, February 12, 2004, Photo from Wilson Family Collection

Because of the vision of Gavin Newsom I was able to call my Mother on February 12, 2004 and tell her Fernando and I were married. I will always be grateful for that day because six months later my Mother passed away. She had an infection and the doctor put her on an antibiotic that made it impossible for her keep food down. The doctor told her he would put her in the hospital and she would get nutrition for a week through IV and then they would try another drug. My Mother refused. She didn’t think she would be able to stop the IV feeding once it had been started and certainly the media hoopla and political interventions in the Schiavo case didn’t make it possible to convince her otherwise. So about a week later my Mother passed away. Yes, I believe that at 84 she probably had a few more good years ahead of her if she had followed the doctor’s orders, but unlike Santorum, I can’t make personal decisions for others. I know that we succeeded in carrying out my Mother’s wishes. I know it was the right thing to do. I know marrying Fernando was the right thing to do. I am really getting tired of politicians who tell me otherwise.

vmbw1 My Mother, Virginia Mae Berkhouse Wilson, died July 3, 2004,  Photo from Wilson Family Collection

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On Scene with Bill Wilson HRC Goes AFER Chad Griffin

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that Chad Griffin, Founding Board Member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), will become the next president of HRC.

imagea Chad Griffin (Left)listens to Ted Olsen and David Boies respond to questions after a session of the federal trial. (Photo by Bill Wilson)

AFER is the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown, the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality for all Americans.

HRC is the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

“I cannot think of anyone better to take the helm of the Human Rights Campaign than my dear friend and colleague Chad Griffin,” said AFER lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson. “There is no one more passionate, more resourceful or more effective than Chad. His brilliant and visionary leadership makes me confident that one day, very soon, every American will be treated equally under the law. HRC is extraordinarily lucky to have him.”

imageb David Boies and Ted Olson (Photo by Bill Wilson)

“Time after time over the past several years, Chad has proven that he is easily one of the most skilled strategists and tacticians in American politics today,” said AFER lead co-counsel David Boies. “That is a rare combination of skill sets for one person to have. His diplomacy, his intellect and his passion for issues of equality are second to none. I cannot think of a better person to lead HRC into the future.”

imagecRob Reiner  (Photo by Bill Wilson)

“The federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, Perry v. Brown, would never have happened without the vision and tenacity of my dear friend Chad Griffin,” said AFER Founding Board Member Rob Reiner. “His incomparable leadership has brought us one step closer toward completing America’s last great civil rights struggle. My congratulations go out to Chad on this great honor and to the Human Rights Campaign for picking a brilliant leader as its next president.”

imaged AFER team on way to trial in District court Adam Umhoefer (left) and Chad Griffin (right) (Photo by Bill Wilson)

“Chad is a visionary leader who not only dreams the impossible, but also accomplishes it,” said AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer. “His bold determination to challenge Proposition 8 in federal court combined with his ability to transcend partisan and ideological boundaries have forever changed the way the nation thinks about equality for LGBT Americans. There is no better person than Chad Griffin to lead the Human Rights Campaign and their millions of supporters.”

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On the Scene with Bill Wilson: Prop 8 Appealing Money

If I were a betting man, I would put money on the Prop 8 proponents requesting an en banc hearing before the 9th District Court of Appeals before taking the case to the Supreme Court. I’ve come to this conclusion based on the number of emails from the National Organization for Marriage I’ve gotten in the past week since 3 members of the Court ruled 2-1 that Prop 8 was unconstitutional. I have received a total of eight appeals for money in seven days. (Yes, I’m on NOM mailing list. No, I’ve never given them money.)

photo012190resSandy Stier (second from left) and Kris Perry co-plaintiffs and their sons, Elliot (left) and Spencer (right) at a press conference after he Court of Appeals decision.

My view was reinforced when I was informed that the 11 judges that would be hearing the case “En Banc” are drawn at random meaning although highly unlikely it is possible that a majority of judges hearing the Appeal could have been appointed by Republican governors. It would be the luck of the draw.

photo012197res Co-plaintiffs, Paul Katami (right) and Jeff Zarrillo (second from right) with Jeff’s parents.

There has been debate about whether narrowly defining the scope of the decision so that it only applies to California was a smart legal strategy. I happen to think it was. The Supreme Court has already held in Romer v Evans that if an amendment takes away rights already established then it is unconstitutional. I’ve not heard Justice Kennedy give any indication that he has changed his mind about that decision or any other Supreme Court Justice suggest that he should.

photo011747resSign of the times.

Those are reasons based on thought and logic which so far have not proven to be the strong point of the Prop 8 proponents. The main reason I think they will request the appeal be heard again by a larger panel of judges is simply because they can. No matter how confident they are of a victory at the Supreme Court, delay gives them what they want and it gives it to them now. Currently there are no marriages taking place in the state of California except those between a man and a woman and it will remain that way as long as the case is on appeal.  Requesting a hearing en banc will add more time especially if the Court agrees to hear it. It could add at least another year to the process.


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On the Scene With Bill Wilson – In the Wake of Queen Elizabeth

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2012

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Detail of the No Stopping sign in front of the Cruise Terminal. Bill Wilson photo

Queen Elizabeth was in San Francisco just a day ahead of the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the English throne. Of course it was the ship, Queen Elizabeth not the actual monarch, but it makes a wonderful connection to the story I was going to write anyway, just to show off my royal portrait of the Queen.

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The Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth as viewed from the Butterfly Restaurant’s outside seating. Bill Wilson photo

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were five days into a five month around the world trip when her Father, King George VI passed away in his sleep. They had arrived in Kenya and were spending a private day in a remote area watching wildlife. They had spent the night at a place called “Treetops” where high above a water hole they could observe the wild animals come to drink.

Tradition says that once a reigning monarch’s heart stops their heir becomes monarch in that instant. Princess Elizabeth remained unaware that she had become Queen for several hours. It was only realized that the King had died when his staff was unable to wake him. The message that the King had died was sent in code to the various officials, however the person who had the codes was on his way to meet the Princess so it wasn’t until reporters traveling with the Princess were called by people at their papers that the Princess’ staff was made aware of the situation. It was Prince Phillip who broke the news to her that her father had died.

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Queen Elizabeth 2 dressed in mourning descends the steps of the plane that returned her from Africa to London. Prince Phillip is five steps behind.

In a book, whose title I’ve forgotten, on the Queen’s coronation, the author observed that it might be considered morbid if someone was to pack black clothes in their travel bags, but for Princess Elizabeth, it was just a matter of duty. In a recent story (January 9) in the “Daily Mail” reporter Chris Slack revealed that there was a mix up about the clothes. He wrote, “Arrangements were quickly made for the Royal party to return to London, with a plane flying them from Nanyuki, a nearby town, to Entebbe where a plane was waiting. During the flight, another problem arose in that the Queen’s mourning outfit had already gone ahead and she only had a floral dress to wear. The aircraft decided to land in North Africa where a message was sent ahead and a second black outfit was taken to London airport. Upon the flight’s arrival, the dress was taken aboard after it stopped in the remote area of the airport. The Queen changed quickly before emerging, meeting a line-up including her uncle the Duke of Gloucester and Churchill.”

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During her 1976 visit to Washington, DC I was able to get this photo of the Queen as she did a walk about at the Lincoln Memorial. Bill Wilson photo

Back to the ship, the Queen Elizabeth is Cunard’s newest ship having just been put into service in 2010. It is the second largest ship in the Cunard fleet, second only to the Queen Mary 2. In making her maiden call to the Port of San Francisco the Queen Elizabeth follows in the wake of her sister ships, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria.

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The Queen Mary 2 does fit under the Golden Gate Bridge on February 4, 2007 just five years to the day before the QE maiden call to San Francisco Bill Wilson photo

The Queen Mary 2 is Cunard’s largest ship and thousands of people on both land and water came to witness and welcome her as she traveled under the Golden Gate Bridge on February 4, 2007. It wasn’t as close a fit as some had speculated it might be.

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A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from one of the lounges on the Queen Victoria which made her maiden call to the port of San Francisco on January 27, 2010. Bill Wilson photo

The Queen Victoria made her inaugural stop in San Francisco on January 27, 2010. Invitation only tours were given of the ship and her beautiful interiors in an effort to give people a taste of cruising.

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The upper decks of the Queen Elizabeth tower above the Pier 35 where she docked in San Francisco.

The stop in San Francisco is part of the world cruise that Queen Elizabeth is currently on. Spending little more than 13 hours in Port by 9pm she was on her way to Hawaii.

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The Bridge of the Queen Elizabeth can be seen through the windows of the Cruise Terminal at Pier 35.

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson City Attorney Targets Tenderloin Markets

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2012

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City Attorney Dennis Herrera announces the filing of civil lawsuits as Police Chief Greg Suhr looks on.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera was joined by San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr at a news conference Monday, January 30, to announce the filing today of civil lawsuits against two Tenderloin markets for facilitating rampant illicit drug trafficking in close proximity to schools, playgrounds, daycare centers, and senior housing. The litigation follows undercover police investigations that for more than two years documented numerous instances in which the markets operated as virtual safe havens for the sale of cocaine, crack, heroin, prescription painkillers and other drugs. Both markets were also found to have engaged in the purchase and resale of stolen merchandise, according to the city’s complaints.

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Market at Leavenworth and Turk in the Tenderloin.

Defendants Barah Market (also known as “Azaal Market”), at 200 Leavenworth Street, and Razan Deli, at 391 Ellis Street, have been the subject of a combined 182 calls for police service during 2011 alone, and are believed to have played a role in hundreds of other nearby incidents requiring a police response. Herrera is seeking court orders to close both businesses for a period of one year; civil penalties of $25,000 each for maintaining a public nuisance; additional penalties of $2,500 for each act of unlawful business practices; disgorgement of all profits from illegal activities; restitution; and attorneys’ fees and costs — including costs of the investigation. The dual lawsuits filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning allege multiple violations of the California Drug Abatement Act, Unfair Competition Law, and other state and local laws.

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City Attorney Dennis Herrera

“The markets we are suing today have played central roles in drug dealing and other crimes that have afflicted this neighborhood for too long,” said Herrera. “Barah Market and Razan Deli are profiting illegally from a drug trade that devastates human lives, and puts enormous burdens on our police and public health services. Their lawlessness shows contempt for the health and safety of neighbors — especially nearby children and seniors — and diminishes this neighborhood’s quality of life. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with the San Francisco Police Department under the leadership of Chief Greg Suhr. Their excellent work has enabled us to build a strong factual basis for our litigation, which we hope will go a long way toward protecting residents and improving the neighborhood.”

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Police Chief Greg Suhr

“We are grateful to City Attorney Herrera and his office for bringing suit against these two businesses,” said San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. “The SFPD and the CAO, on behalf and with the support of San Francisco’s affected neighborhoods, work together to identify irresponsible businesses and bring them into compliance. There is no place in this City for businesses that allow, engage in, and/or support criminal activity.”

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Police Chief Suhr speaking at a press conference this morning across the street from the Barah’s Market one of two businesses that were sued in Superior Court.

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson Above London Royal Views

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2012

The first time we flew British Airways to Rome via London I wasn’t prepared for the fact that the flight path seemed to take us right over the Thames and London’s famous landmarks. This time I was prepared but the weather wasn’t as good.

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Big Ben is in the center of this photo, Westminster Abbey on the left and the London Eye can be seen at the top right.

From the air you can see the stark contrasts between the old and new London. The sleek new buildings erected along side buildings that have stood for centuries.

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Buckingham Palace is almost obscured by the buildings on one side but surrounded by beautiful parks and greens on the other sides.

Coming back from Rome to London on a smaller plane the flight path took us around London rather than down the Thames, but it did take us almost directly over Windsor Castle and the surrounding countryside.

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This is only about half of Windsor Castle. The State Apartments are on the top side of this photo.

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Key to plan (right)

  • A: The Round Tower
  • B: The Upper Ward, The Quadrangle (as this courtyard is known)
  • C: The State Apartments
  • D: Private Apartments, overlooking the East terrace
  • E: South Wing, overlooking The Long Walk
  • F: Lower Ward
  • G: St. George’s Chapel
  • H: Horseshoe Cloister
  • L: The Long Walk
  • K: King Henry VIII Gate (principal entrance)
  • M: Norman Gate
  • N: North Terrace
  • O: Edward IV Tower
  • T: The Curfew Tower

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A better view of the East Terrace.
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With any bit of luck this is Eton, Britain’s famous public (meaning private) school.

It is difficult to tell from the sky what the various towns and places are, but I think this is Eton because when I searched the internet for photos they looked very similar to me.

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York TimesThe San Francisco ChronicleThe San Francisco ExaminerSFistSFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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On Scene Bill Wilson Downtown Abstractions

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2012

The other day while walking downtown I was struck by the juxtaposition of old and new buildings and the patterns they created.

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SFMOMA in close up forms the letters L and O

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U are there.

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A Second Look

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A round about way.

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X rated reflection

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson Play-off fever grips the Castro.

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2012

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Photo by Bill Wilson

It is now official. Play-off fever has now come to the Castro. The trees at the intersection of Castro and Market have sprouted Niner T Shirts. Even the traffic signs have a warning against turning on the red and gold. (They just forget to mention the gold.)

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Photo by Bill Wilson

Who is going to win? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

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Photo by Bill Wilson

See Related On Scene with Bill Wilson Archive

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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